Flow, Optimal Experience, and Parenting Kids and Teens

In the early ’00s–not long before this TED talk, I heard Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi speak in person on “flow.”

This was a serious, geeky fangirl moment for me. I’d been following his work for several years upon the recommendation of one of my former bosses, a now retired dean at The University of Texas Austin.

In the 1990s, Csikszentmihalyi’s work helped shape my approach to advising young adults in topics related to academic and career matters. It also helped me, as a woman in her late 20s, begin to feel more whole. I learned what experiences felt optimal as a person. (Hint: you’re looking at it.)

In recent years I’ve been thinking a lot about parenting kids in a way that helps them cultivate “flow,” or optimal experiences. With my research and writing for my bullying book, I’m also thinking of how any kid who is struggling to fit (be it academically or socially or emotionally) may find the cultivation of flow a way to tune into the joys of human experience. Finding flow can help a kid feel a little more confident, stand a little taller, and potentially release fear and anxiety. Later, mindful of how flow–when carefully cultivated–can energize us, young people can make healthy life and career choices in step with who they are.

Flow, when we know it and grow it, gives us humans personal, internal metrics for measuring our sense of worth and craft our own definitions of “success.” This is important. In fact, I think it’s so important for when we talk about parenting gifted kids in particular that I’m going to give a brief nod to flow again here tomorrow in a separate post.

For now, though, I’d like you to  watch the above TED video and ask yourself:

What might putting flow cultivation front and center in our households do for our kids?

Parents, I’d love to hear your answers, thoughts, and stories in Comments.

Explore More:
• I keep a copy of Csikszentmihalyi’s book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience on a virtual shelf in my Amazon store. You’ll likely find it at your library, too.

Pareting with a Goal of Flow  Pamela Price  RedWhiteandGrew.com


Filed under Homegrown Kids

Join Me on 19 February 2015 for a “Work and Homeschool” SENGinar

Thinking of working while homeschooling?  Join author Pamela Price for a February 2015 workshop with SENG.Above is a screen shot of the first slide* for my upcoming SENGinar on working and homeschooling. I’m very eager to share with you what I’ve learned as a parent and an author, and I hope you’ll join me.

Here’s the event description:

With a rising number of families turning to homeschooling as an educational option, parents are learning how to juggle home-based education alongside other adult responsibilities. In this SENGinar author Pamela Price—an “accidental” working homeschool mom–will share tips and strategies at making the most of this important phase in your family’s life while nurturing the unique academic and socio-emotional needs of gifted children and teens.

The event will take place online February 19, 2015 from 6:30 to 8:00 PM Central Time.

The cost of the webinar is $40, with all proceeds going to the non-profit, SENG (Supporting the Educational Needs of the Gifted).

For event registration, click here.

Special thanks to SENG and my publisher, GHF Press/Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, for their support of this talk.

For more information on the topic of working while homeschooling, please visit HowtoWorkandHomeschool.com.

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* Note that is my third grader’s artwork, “Celestial Hoops.” He wants you all to know that he has a store now on Cafe Press, if you’re interested in this design. Image credit J. Price, used with permission.


Filed under Uncategorized